The first year of a new decade marks a significant time for many people – but few celebrate the occasion with as much vigour as the residents of Oberammergau in southern Germany. This May will see the first performance of the decennial Oberammergau Passion Play since 2000, drawing and enthralling audiences from all over the world.
Four months might sound like a long way away, but apparently travel packages are already being snapped up by those eager to witness one of 100 showings of the legendary performance first-hand – and quite a legend it is too!
In ‘Things You Want to Know About the Oberammergau Passion Play’, Sue Brages of Technorati Travel relates the tale of the play’s origin in the dark times of the Black Death. As the dreaded plague claimed 100 of its townsfolk, the people of Oberammergau made a pact with God that they would re-enact the crucifixion of Christ every ten years, if He would spare them. Lo and behold, no more townsfolk died, and the community has honoured that pledge every decade since (well, give or take a couple of years).
It really does sound like a most spectacular commitment, with around half of the town’s population getting involved in staging the play of Christ’s crucifixion, from his entry into Jerusalem to the Easter resurrection. 2,000 local performers from all walks of life – who need to have lived in the town for at least 20 years – perform the epic tale in an open theatre against the majestic scenery of the Bavarian Alps.
But don’t let the community spirit fool you into thinking this is an amateur production – with Christian Stueckl of the Munich Theatre at the helm, the Oberammergau Passion Play satisfies all artistic credentials and is being dubbed Europe’s cultural event of the year.
Tickets are selling fast for the performances, which are being staged between May and October, so don’t leave it too long to book your place – otherwise that’s another ten years you’ll have to wait!